Protect Your Identity
How Not To Get Hooked By a “Phishing” Scam
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) suggests these tips to help you avoid getting hooded by a phishing scam:
- DO NOT REPLY to an email or popup message that asks for personal or financial information. Also, do not click on a link in the message.
Examples of messages you might receive are:
“We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link provided and confirm your identity.”
“During our regular verification of accounts, we could not verify your information. Please click here to update and verify your information.”
- Use anti-virus software and firewall – and keep them up to date. Some phishing emails contain software that can harm your computer or track your activities on the Internet without your knowledge. Anti-virus software and firewall can protect you from accepting such files unknowingly.
- DO NOT email personal or financial information.
- Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to check for unauthorized charges. If your statement is late by more than a couple of days, call your credit card company or bank to confirm your billing address and account balances.
- Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from emails you receive, regardless of who sent them. These files can contain viruses or other software that can weaken your computer’s security.
- Forward spam that is phishing for information to firstname.lastname@example.org and to the company, bank or organization impersonated in the phishing email.
- If you believe you have been scammed, file a complaint at ftc.gov and then visit the FTC’s Identity Theft website at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/ Victims of phishing can become victims of identity theft. While you cannot control whether you will become a victim of identity theft, you can take steps to minimize your risk. If an identity thief is opening credit card accounts in your name, these accounts are likely to show up on your credit report. You may catch an incident early if you order a free copy of your credit report periodically from any of the three major credit bureaus. See www.annualcreditcreport.comfor details on ordering a free annual credit report.
- Learn other ways to avoid email scams and deal with deceptive spam at ftc.gov/spam
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